Finance Ministry says it can account for every dime of the Revision of Wages and Salaries budget

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Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh
Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Ministry of Finance has rubbished claims made by the Alliance for Change (AFC) which were published in the Kaieteur News on December 8 under the caption “Finance Minister fails to account for $8,000 million in five years.”

The article claims that for the past five years more than $8B from the Revision of Wages and Salaries budget cannot be accounted for including the level of salary increase that can be paid as provided in the National Budget.

The Finance Ministry in release late Sunday (December 8) said these claims are both outrageous and inaccurate.

“The article clearly demonstrates that the AFC is unfamiliar with the purposes and uses of the Revision of Wages and Salaries allocation as the methodology used to determine the proposed salary increases for public servants is fundamentally flawed.”

On a point of clarification, the Ministry said the uses and purposes of the Revision of Wages and Salaries allocation in the National Budget are a matter of longstanding public record.

“As a matter of policy, and of practical necessity, the National Budget only provides allocations to meet the cost of posts filled in budget agencies at the time the National Budget is finalized” the statement added.

The Ministry further explained that should a budget agency promote or recruit new staff, increase salaries or otherwise adjust salaries during the course of a year, that budget agency must revise its budgeted allocation to meet its shortfall.

The shortfall is met by what is described as an inter-departmental warrant of funds provided by the Ministry of Finance from the revision of wages and salaries allocation to the agency where the shortfall has arisen.

The Ministry said this treatment of financial allocations for positions that are unfilled at the time of preparation of the national estimates or other employment cost shortfall is long established and honored by time.

“These facts are well known to the National Assembly and its members. In addition, this information has been provided every year during consideration of the National Estimates” the Ministry said, adding that “therefore, the AFC’s claim that the difference between what is allocated and what was actually paid to public servants is inaccurate and unfounded, as is the claim that the 2013 budget catered for a 15% salary increase.”

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